Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

April 2018 Conservation Notes

Decision to exempt Florida offshore waters from oil and gas exploitation reversed

Remember in January, The Department of the Interior announced opening nearly the entire Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf shores to oil and gas exploration and drilling?  Our illustrious governor, looking to shore up his environmental bona fides before announcing his bid for Senator Nelson’s seat, said that he would talk with DOI Secretary Zinke about exempting Florida from the plan.  Zinke, in a tweet, sang the praises of Scott, and said there would be no drilling in offshore Florida waters.  Scott beamed about his ‘victory’.  Maybe too soon!

Many wondered why Zinke would make such a move without consulting his boss,  but there you go.  And now the next shoe dropped.  In a press release on Apr 30, Zinke’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management (Note: not Zinke himself.) stated:

“In support of President Donald J. Trump’s America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, Department of Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank today announced that the Department will offer 77.3 million acres offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida for oil and gas exploration and development. The region-wide lease sale scheduled for Aug. 15, 2018, would include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.”

So far, no more protestations from Governor Scott.

To his credit, though, he did veto the “toilet to tap” bill, which would have allowed the pumping of recycled wastewater into the aquifer, without first removing pesticides, herbicides, cosmetics and medicines.  

According to the Naples Daily News, some environmental groups were on social media promoting calling him “Governor Poopy Water” if he did not veto it.  May have made a difference.